Trying to stay aware and accurately informed about world events can be challenging. The impacts of the recent bombings in Paris, Nigeria and Beirut, combined with the ongoing fighting in Syria and the flood of millions of refugees seeking asylum are overwhelming to comprehend. Attacks on churches, temples, mosques and people of color are abundant within the U.S. and abroad. Widespread environmental destruction prevails around the globe. So much suffering can overwhelm one’s sense of compassion and empathy.
We live in scary times. How do we live each day holding both the suffering as well as the joy? Where do we find the inner capacity to continuously chose the path of love over that of fear?
How do we cultivate an open, loving and compassionate heart in a world filled with so much hatred, fear and heartbreak? These are the questions with which I grapple and ponder.
In my meditation practice, I consciously cultivate keeping my heart open and soft each day. I often feel as though the cares of the world and the breakneck pace of my daily life combine to persuade my heart to contract and close off from all the suffering. There are times I want to stay in bed and keep the covers over my head.
It takes inner strength and courage combined with a sense of hardiness to stay informed and involved in the world while living each day to the fullest holding both the joy and the suffering.
It can be hard to remain informed and aware and still choose to live out our lives as best as we are able every day, doing all the good we can. The choice we do have is how we respond to the events in the world and in our daily lives. While none of us can single handedly create world peace, what we can do is choose each day to bring a little more love and gentleness into the world.
Every time we choose kindness and compassion we offer some hope and some healing for the pain and suffering in our lives as well as in the world. When I feel despair for the world I often follow Wendell Berry’s example and head out to where the wood drake rests in the grace of the world where I can gather perspective and strength to continue living each day with my heart soft and open.
Blessed Be, Diane Melvin, Director of Religious Education
The Peace of the Wild Things
by Wendell Berry
When the despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound,
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lay down where the wood drake rests
in his beauty on the water and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of the wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief.
I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day blind stars
waiting with their light for a time.
I rest in the grace of the world and am free.
Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins
Intergenerational Service – December 13th
All ages over 5 are invited to join us for this Intergenerational Sunday Service where through the story of Hershel, and the Goblins he faces, we will learn about courage and discernment over choosing the most important things in our lives.
Young Adult UU Conference
January 15-17, 2016
The People’s Church will host the 13th annual young adult Con on Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. This conference is open to all 18-35 year olds. It is a weekend filled with fun and fellowship, UU worship and workshops, relaxation and spiritual growth , learning and music, and connection. Mark your calendars!
Young Adult Group
First and third Tuesdays, 7:00 pm in room L2 at People’s Church. All those 18-35 years old are invited to gather together for meaningful discussions, sharing, activities and deepening connections. Childcare available upon request. Contact group coordinator, Mackenzie Hatfield-Johnson, for more information at 269-779-2111 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Special Thanks to the many volunteers who helped make last months sleepovers so successful! Thank you Gwen Abney-Cunningham, Jana Watson and Heidi Johnson for organizing the elementary sleepover—and to all the parents who helped with the meal, activities and clean up!
And Special Thanks to Karen Friedel for organizing the teens to create the Haunted House for the elementary sleepover on Friday night and then sleeping over with the teens on Saturday night of that same weekend. You are awesome!